Question of the week:
Can the Bankruptcy Court Order me to Turn Over my Assets to the Trustee or Creditors?Yes, but this is not necessary in most cases. Part of this webpage discusses a liquidation analysis under both Chapter 7 and chapter 13 bankruptcy. The liquidation analysis covers the valuation of your assets compared to what you are allowed to keep in the bankruptcy. Typically you may keep your home, retirement accounts, $1,000 in equity in a car and $1,000-$5,000 of anything else you want. There are other exemptions but these exemptions cover most people when valuing used furniture and household goods. If you have more equity in your assets than allowed under the exemptions, you may have to turn over the asset or back the asset. Note that excuses such as I need my car do not change the rules.
Is Debt Discharged in Bankruptcy Taxable Income?Typically No. Outside of bankruptcy if someone forgives debt, the resulting ascension to wealth of the person that is forgiven is taxable as regular income. The IRS has a regulation on point that states that since the Bankruptcy Court had rules that you could not have paid the debt back as part of the discharge of the debt, that you have not ascended into a position of wealth, or more precisely you are still in the same position, so you have not made a taxable change. Can a Bankruptcy Attorney stop a garnishment from a judgment against me? Yes. A bankruptcy may stop a creditor that may try to garnish your wages or bank account and may be able to discharge a judgment against you. In addition, we may be able to file a motion for return of garnished funds if we move quickly enough. The longer the garnishment continues the harder it is to get money back. A garnishment typically is done only after a judgment. You are best served bringing us paperwork as soon as you are served and allowing us more time to help fight the lawsuit and avoid judgment and garnishment if possible. Contact your bankruptcy attorney to help determine how a bankruptcy can protect you from garnishment, foreclosure or other collection activity.
I am surrendering a home to a mortgage lender to help consolidate my debt, may I still collect rent on the home, and does this change after filing a chapter 7?If you have rental income from property but are planning on surrendering the property to the mortgage lender, either in bankruptcy or foreclosure, the rental income may belong to the mortgage lender. Please refer to your mortgage and note for details, but often rental income is assigned as part of the mortgage. If you were to file a chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy, you may still not be able to keep the rental income. In a chapter 7 bankruptcy, the bankruptcy estate would own the rental property and they would be the proper party to collect the rent. Even if the rent is paid to you, you may be required to turn over the rent to the bankruptcy trustee. If you file a chapter 13 or reorganization, the rental income may be used in calculating your income for purpose of determining your discretionary income and ultimately your chapter 13 plan payments.
I am up-side-down or have negative equity in my home, can a Tampa Bankruptcy Lawyer help me?If you owe more than your house is worth, your Tampa Bankruptcy Lawyer may help you decide between four options: pay for the house until the home value increases, return the home to the bank, attempt to negotiate with the bank for a loan modification or sell the home. If you sell the home, a Tampa bankruptcy attorney may help you to negotiate a short sale with the bank, so you do not need to bring money to sell. If you decide to give the house to the bank, this may be done, with or with out a the help of a Tampa Bankruptcy Attorney. If you do not file a bankruptcy the Court may grant the bank a deficiency judgment against you for the difference between the sale price and the amount owed. The bank may attempt to collect the difference from your personally or may file a 1098/1099 with the IRS, and treat the deficiency amount as earned income. You would then be personally liable for the difference as if it were earned income from that tax year. A bankruptcy or reorganization may save you from the deficiency judgment and the 1099 taxable gain. It is often easier for your Tampa Bankruptcy Attorney to obtain a discharge from the Tampa Bankruptcy Court prior to the foreclosure sale. Call your Tampa bankruptcy lawyer for more information. What happens and what questions are asked at the 341 Meeting of Creditors? Click here for your Tampa Bankruptcy Lawyers341 Meeting of Creditors information sheet. What classes are necessary to file bankruptcy:
Pre-bankruptcy CounselingStarting with the 2005 changes to the Bankruptcy Code, each person that files a bankruptcy must take an approved pre-filign course.The class may be taken online, over the phone or in person. We typically recommend a local group to offer the class so people have the personal attention that they deserve.. The class is designed to offer people an alternative to filing a bankruptcy and to start people thinking about how they arrived at their financial position and to help them avoid returning. The pre-bankruptcy counseling should include an evaluation of your financial situation, alternatives to bankruptcy, and a personal budget plan. A typical counseling session could last about 20 to 90 minutes. The pre bankruptcy filing course typically costs about $25 per person, and some groups may offer a discount for couples. The counselor will typically email the certificate of completion to you and your bankruptcy attorney. I would recommend calling to confirm that the certificate was received by the attorney and not relying on a third party stating that they have forwarded. In the typical case, your bankruptcy cannot be filed until this certificate if received.
Post-Filing Debtor EducationJust as a class is required to get in to bankruptcy, one is required to exit the case. This class should focus on credit counseling to assure that the debtor filing bankruptcy does not return to the same position. This class is more instructional that the first class and may take longer. The debtor education course is often offered online, over the phone or in person, and may be broken into different sections so it can be completed on your own time line. The pre discharge class should include developing a budget, managing money, and using credit wisely. The fee to take this second bankruptcy class is about the same as the first class, $25 per person. As with the pre filing class, the instructor for the pre bankruptcy discharge class should send you and your attorney a certificate of completion. You should call to confirm that the bankruptcy attorney did receive the certificate. Your bankruptcy will not be discharged until the certificate is filed with the bankruptcy court. If your case is closed prior to the counseling certificate being filed, you may have to pay a fee of about $270 to the clerk of court to re-open the case. Attorneys at the Galewski Law Group may be reached at 855-Stan-the-Man or 813-222-8210 and provide debt Relief services through Chapter 7, Chapter 11 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy, foreclosure defense, mortgage modification, Divorce. In addition our lawyers represent people in the areas of Personal Injury and divorce throughout the Tampa Bay Area including Hillsborough, Pinellas, Manatee, Pasco, Polk, Sarasota and Hardee County and in cities that include Tampa, Clearwater, Dover, Seffner, Tarpon Springs, St. Petersburg, Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Safety Harbor, Lutz, Holiday,, Oldsmar, Sarasota, Crystal Beach, Bradenton, Lakeland, Brandon, Plant City, New Port Richey, Trinity, Spring Hill, Port Richey, Largo, Seminole, Pinellas Park, and Bartow. 1112 E. Kennedy Blvd. * Tampa, FL 33602 * T 813.222.8210 * F 813.222.8211